Non-Dentist Teeth Whitening: Did Dental Board Overstep Its Bounds?

Non-Dentist Teeth Whitening: Did Dental Board Overstep Its Bounds?In North Carolina, the State Board of Dental Examiners has to stop telling non-dentists that it is illegal to provide teeth-whitening products or services in their state.

In a unanimous opinion and final order issued by the Federal Trade Commission, it was determined that the North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners acted illegally when they pushed to bar non-dentist providers of teeth-whitening products and services from selling their products to consumers in North Carolina, as reported in the Wall Street Journal.

The original complaint stems from the dental board sending dozens of letters telling non-dentist teeth-whitening providers that they were practicing dentistry illegally and ordered them to stop. According to the WSJ, the board also allegedly threatened non-dentists who were considering opening teeth-whitening businesses. The board also sent letters to mall owners and property management companies urging them not to lease space to non-dentist teeth-whitening providers.

The final order upholds an initial decision by Chief Administrative Law Judge D. Michael Chappell in July and adopts Chappell’s order with minor changes.

To read the full story see: FTC: N.C. Dental Board Thwarted Teeth-Whitening Competition

Dentists Reveal Alarming Cavity Problem Among Preschool Children

Dentists Reveal Alarming Cavity Problem Among Preschool ChildrenDentists across the U.S. are reporting an increase in young dental patients with cavities.

Some dentists feel that this increase is due to parents skipping children’s regular dental appointments during tight economic times and not pushing young children to brush their teeth after each meal, or at least twice a day.

But could this possibly be linked to a reduction, or lack of fluoridated water beyond regular oral hygiene?

The CDC reports that over 19% of children ages 2-19 have untreated cavities — the first increase in 40 years, with the largest increase in the number of preschoolers with cavities since the last study completed five years ago.

The New York Times recently reported that dentists nationwide say they are seeing more preschoolers at all income levels with 6 to 10 cavities or more. The level of decay, they added, is so severe that they often recommend using general anesthesia because young children are unlikely to sit through such extensive procedures while they are awake.

Dr. Jonathan Shenkin, a pediatric dentist in Augusta, Me. told the New York Times, “I have parents tell me all the time, ‘No one told us when to go to the dentist, when we should start using fluoride toothpaste’ — all this basic information to combat the No. 1 chronic disease in children.”

Dentists believe there are several contributing factors to the increase in tooth decay: lack of regular, enforced tooth brushing, too many sweetened juices without brushing, regular visits to the dentist starting when the child is 1, and parents who are choosing bottled water over fluoridated tap water.

The Times article features an image of the surgical wing of the Center for Pediatric Dentistry at Seattle Children’s Hospital with 30-month-old Devon Koester.  Eleven, of his twenty baby teeth are being treated due to cavities.

NBC’s chief medical editor, Dr. Nancy Snyderman spoke to the tooth decay problem on the “Today” show. She said that too much sugar, lack of regular brushing, and drinking bottled water instead of regular old tap water has exacerbated the problem.

Dr. Snyderman offers the following report on tooth decay in children’s teeth —

The American Dental Association offers the following tips for parents with babies, Toddlers and Pre-Schoolers —

  • After each feeding, clean the baby’s gums with a clean wet gauze pad or washcloth.
  • When teeth start to appear, brush them with a child’s size toothbrush and plain water.
  • At the direction of your dentist, some children under two may benefit from the use of fluoride toothpaste. Look for toothbrushes that carry the ADA Seal of Acceptance.  They have been evaluated by the ADA for safety and effectiveness.
  • Begin flossing when at least two teeth begin to touch.
  • Start dental visits by the child’s first birthday. Make visits regularly. If you think your child has dental problems, take the child to the dentist as soon as possible.
  • Brush teeth of children over age two with a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste and make sure to floss daily. Look for toothpastes that carry the ADA Seal of Acceptance. They have been evaluated by the ADA for safety and effectiveness.
  • Children should be supervised while brushing to keep them from swallowing the toothpaste.

Dentists, what has been your experience? Have you seen an increase in young children with severe cavity problems?

What do you think are the reasons behind this growing dental care trend?

For more on this story see: Preschoolers in Surgery for a Mouthful of Cavities

Dental Insurance and Obama Care: Who’s Right?

Dental Insurance and Obama CareThe National Journal is reporting that the National Association of Dental Plans is spending more than $1 million on a campaign to change a provision in the health care law that they feel will require some people to buy duplicate dental insurance coverage.

Let me repeat…The dental benefits trade organization is spending $1,000,0000 to hire a lobbying firm to convince the Obama administration to fix the provision by the end of 2011.

Is this a good thing? Click here for a 92-page white paper “Road Map” with Delta Dental as a co-sponsor.

The NADP is concerned that, starting in 2014, the almost 44 million people who receive pediatric dental coverage through small business employers will also have to buy coverage through the new health insurance exchanges. It is asking regulators to clarify that their existing coverage meets the law’s requirements.

“Truthfully, this is the No. 1 issue for our industry,” said NADP executive director Evelyn Ireland. “It is the most crucial thing for us to get done.”

NADP wants to ensure that people will be allowed to keep their existing dental insurance coverage under the new health care, a promise President Obama repeatedly made during the heath insurance reform debate.

For a multitude of reasons I have never been a big fan of Delta Dental. However, after reviewing the 92-page white paper I think there may be some merit to this $1,000,000 argument.

Before, I make up my mind, I would like some pro or con feedback from our readers.

Please post your comments below.

Dental Safety: BPA Exposure and Dental Sealants (video)

Dental Safety: BPA Exposure and Dental Sealants (video)This week Campbell’s Soup Company announced that they are phasing out bisphenol A (BPA) in their canned food linings.

BPA is a chemical that can imitate human estrogen and is thought by some health care providers to be harmful to health.  BPA is commonly used additive in food packaging and dental sealants.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also reported that they will make a decision by March 30th on whether to the ban the use of bisphenol A in food and beverage packaging.

Dental composites have revolutionized dentistry, especially cosmetic dentistry. But composite resins and dental sealants also contain BPA.

Warned one dentist, “It’s a dangerous chemical that we are placing in a sensitive area, free to leech out 24 hours a day.”

Another dentist said, “The cumulative release of BPA from composites appears to be minimal from the available research.”

Recently there’s been a lot of negative publicity about bisphenol A being linked to heart disease, obesity and diabetes. In light of these recent reports, The Wealthy Dentist conducted a survey asking dentists if they have dental safety concerns over dental composites.

Click on Play to hear how the dentists responded to the survey —

What are your thoughts on the use of BPA in cosmetic dentistry?

Dental Office Embezzlement of $100,000 in Dental Insurance Payments

Dental Office Embezzlement of $100,000 in Dental Insurance PaymentsDental office embezzlement is still alive and well in California.

Deborah Lynn Kessler, 45, pleaded guilty to four counts of grand theft over charges that she embezzled more than $100,000 in dental insurance payments at the dental practice where where was manager.

The Orange County Register reports that Kessler signed dental insurance payments over to her personal bank accounts over the course of about three years. Investigators initially said she may have used the money to pay for an RV, boats and trips, and to cover her personal bills.

She was sentenced to two years in jail, plus an additional two more years of community supervision.

According to a 2010 Association of Certified Fraud Examiners report almost one-fourth of all embezzlement cases report losses of at least $1 million with smaller businesses being the most susceptible to fraud.

The average embezzlement scheme lasts for 18 months before detection.

The U.S Chamber of Commerce estimates that employee embezzlement costs American companies $20 billion to $40 billion a year. A long-term employee is 15 times more likely than a stranger to steal from a company.

Some of the best ways to prevent dental office embezzlement is by implementing a segregation of duties, keeping petty cash to a minimum and requiring dual signatures on checks.

Has your dental practice ever been the victim of employee embezzlement? What happened, and how did you handle it?

For more on the Orange County Register story see: Dental worker guilty of stealing more than $100,000


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